Christmas in the Virgin Islands

Ah, yes, it’s that time of year again. The leaves turn orange and fall off their trees, the ugly Christmas sweaters come out of the closet and the ugg boots soon follow. In the states that is. Here in St. Croix people replace Christmas trees with palm trees, they wear board shorts instead of stockings, and bikinis instead of beanies and scarves. So my question is: does Christmas in the Virgin Islands feel like Christmas at all?
In St. Croix it is about 86-90 degrees all year round regardless of the season. Fall, summer, spring, it’s all about the same, give or take a few degrees. There is rain. There is wind. There is not snow. So does the media give us an unrealistic view of Christmas? Does it take away from the spirit? Or does Christmas just not feel the same when it’s hot out?
Studies show that temperature affects your mood; when it’s cold and gloomy, people tend to be more negative and depressed. So if it’s cold and gloomy, how would the “happiest” holiday of the year still be so happy? This may very well not be the case for most people. But if one person is negative, it brings a whole room down (that is unless there is eggnog involved, eggnog solves all problems).
Ten people were asked and more than half explained how they felt that Christmas in St. Croix didn’t feel the same as Christmas in the states. “It doesn’t feel the same at all,” one girl said. “In New York, Christmas is cold. It’s icy. It’s magical. Everything is covered in a thin layer of ice or snow. It looks like something from a movie or a book. And when the snow falls, twirling and swirling, angelic and serene, it’s captivating beauty that you can’t help but stare at.”
Another remark was: “There is snow in the states. “In every Christmas movie and commercial it’s snowing, so that’s how it should be I guess.”
That is how it should be? Because of what was seen in a Christmas movie?
Have you ever seen the movie “Elf”? How about “The Polar Express”? Even Harry Potter has a “magical” Christmas scene. All these movies with snow, bells, Santa, spread all around the nation like a Christmas virus. Giving little children unachievable Christmas standards since before they were in 1st grade. What about kids who live in southern California? It doesn’t snow there, it hardly even gets cold! They’re in the same boat as us islanders (or should I say the same sleigh). The world is filled with Christmas disappointments. But this isn’t because the holiday isn’t great, it’s because it didn’t live up to the expectation, the unrealistic expectation.
So whose fault is this? Santa? No. Parents? No. Mother Nature? Most definitely not. It’s Hollywood’s. Hollywood, crushing children’s dreams since 1887.
In conclusion, Christmas isn’t about what temperature it is outside, it’s not about what you see on television. It’s not about what clothes you are wearing, and it’s not even about where you are. It’s about being with family and friends; it’s about the joy of giving and the joy of being able to see your companions, whoever they may be, happy, alongside you. And finally, it’s about nostalgia; it’s about reliving and shamelessly reminiscing on your unforgettable childhood memories, and if you still are a child, it’s about making new memories that will last a lifetime.
Editor’s note: Natalia Kuipers was born and raised on St. Croix. A student at Good Hope Country Day School, she is also a swimmer for the Dolphins and the V.I. National Team.

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